January 11, 2016

By Allan  



Hi Everyone,

I announced last week that we’d hired Erin’s former student teacher, Sarah Singleton, to be her job share partner for the remainder of this school year. Sarah will officially start this week, with Monday and Tuesday as transition days and Wednesday the first day teaching. Please welcome Sarah to the Howard Team!

Fifteen items of note this week:

• Artist in Residence Grant! – Great news here! I’ve been working with the Lane Arts Council this year and they’ve been able to secure a grant for us through the Eugene Rotary to have an artist in residence come to Howard this year! Like last year, the artist would be here for three weeks and classes would meet with them for a total of four sessions. Our task now is to decide which artist we’d like to have come (we did Latin American Sculpture last year) and also decide when we want to have the artist come (we did it after testing last year). See the Lane Arts Artist Residencies webpage for a list of all the artist, but I’d like to make a decision on the artist and dates at our January 19th Staff Meeting. In the meantime, please take a look at the website and let me know if you have any early favorites for artists or dates, which I can send out ahead of the meeting.

• K-2 and 3-5 PRIDE Assemblies, Wednesday – This Wednesday is the PRIDE Awards Assembly for Respect. The PBIS Team will be sending out the details, but the K-2 assembly will be 9:10-9:35 and the 3-5 assembly will be 9:40-10:05, both in the gym. See the linked map and directions for details and watch for further information from the PBIS Team. And remember to email Mellissa your hot topic rules/expectation that you thinks should be in the quiz show refresher we’ll do at the assembly.

• Wacky Wednesday, Career Day – This Wednesday is the January Wacky Wednesday and this time it’s Career Day. Let your students know they are welcome to come to school dressed up as a career they might have one day. And be sure to remind students that ninjas, princesses, superheroes, and so on are not viable career options.

Dress for the Job (edited)

• Superintendent Visit Tuesday, Jan. 12th – Our superintendent, Gustavo Balderas, will be visiting Howard Tuesday morning 9:30-12:00 (an bit shorter than originally scheduled). He said he doesn’t need to attend a staff meeting and will instead walk around unescorted after meeting with me for a quick check in and then meet with me again at the end for a follow-up.

• New Building Updates – Attached are the minutes from the last Owner/Architect/General Contractor (OAC) Meeting and below are a few related items of note:

• Time to Start Packing! – Not that anyone is counting, but there are only 49 school days until spring break, which means the clock is now ticking for packing things up to ship to the new building over spring break. We have all the boxes, labels and packing directions. Carefully read over the packing directions. If your boxes are not labeled correctly, they will not be moved. 4J is planning to move as many items into classrooms and offices in the new building as staff are ready to send over. The more you can send over early, the less you have to pack and move later. Crystal has the boxes and labels are in Lori’s office.

On a related note, and shared earlier, staff will be paid two extra days this summer to pack on June 20th and 21st, but if you have all your stuff packed before then you are welcome to start your summer early and still get paid for those two days.

• Early Childhood Team Into New Building – ESS needed to relocate the Early Childhood Team (i.e. Tami Walkup’s team) and they will be joining us in the new building next year, which will be great for communication between our building and early intervention agencies like EEP, Head Start and the district Family Resource Center, who are the folks ECT works with. They only need one classroom and we have quite a few extras at the moment, so I placed them into one of what was going to be one of the two BEST classrooms and then consolidated that BEST classrom with where we were going to locate the TSS, which places the two BEST classrooms right next to each other and is also be a better use of space since neither BEST or the TSS will be using the space at the same time. Linked is an updated map of where everyone is going if you’re keeping track. Press Command + to zoom in for a better view of the names.

• Winter Break Progress – Quite a bit of work was done over the break. The wood flooring in the gym is now going in. The stage and Music Room are nearly finished. The cafeteria is nearly finished as well, with everything cleared out for the final polishing. Carpets are going into classrooms this week. And 4J is working on a hard date for all of the furniture to be delivered. So the building itself is looking like it’s going to be finished pretty much on time next month. The asbestos abatement and demolition of the old building, along with all the groundwork that follows, is another matter, but see the next item for that topic.

• Completion Schedule Updates – Todd Construction has moved up the completion dates on certain sectors and tasks on their summer schedule, which will help to get the parking lots and groundwork finished on time. 4J is also looking into speeding up the abatement and demolition schedule of the old building, which would also give more time for things to get finished, but overall it’s starting to look more positive for the parking and grounds to be completely finished by the mid-August target date.

• Report Card Grading Math Practices – Maddy Ahearn sent principals information to share with teachers regarding the math portion of student report cards. The math practice section of the elementary report card has been split into two sections: “Problem Solving” and “Communication”. Attached is a rubric (PDF and DOC) that teachers can use as a tool for grading math practices for the first semester report card. Hopefully this rubric will provide some clarity for teachers and families regarding these scores.

• Schools Showcase Volunteers – I’ve heard from a few folks who can help promote Howard at the School Showcase Saturday, Jan 23rd, 9:00-12:00 at the Ed Center. If we have enough folks volunteer, staff could do some nice short shifts. Let me know if any of you are able to help.

• Care Team Referrals – The Student Care Team will be meeting in three weeks, which means referrals to the team are due Friday, Jan. 22nd, next week. DHS has been great about helping quite a few of our families, pointing them towards resources for a variety of different situations (homelessness, assistance with bills, incarcerated parents, coutselling resources, and many others), so please consider referring a student or family in need. Try to get a signature on the 4J Release Form (PDF or DOC) so we will be able to openly discuss the student(s) by name and also so DHS can research the family situation to see what services they would qualify for. If there’s a situation where you can’t get a signature for whatever reason, you can refer “hypothetical” student or family situations. Let me know if you have any questions about potential referrals, but if it’s a situation that’s on your mind, it’s probably a worth referring to the team.

• Lane County Family Mediation Family Check-Up – Related to the above, linked here is a flyer staff can share with any interested families regarding a Family Check-Up program developed by the UO to provide brief, family-centered interventions that identify strengths and weaknesses in family functioning and help participants become motivated to make positive changes. The Family Check-Up service is available to parents with children between the ages of 2 and 17, who are members of Trillium Community Health Plan (i.e. Oregon Health Plan). The check-up will assess family interactions, encourage self-reflection, promote positive family management skills, and provide referrals to community services. Families can earn $150 (provided in gift cards) by attending three appointments, which take place over a four- to six-week period. The appointments involve the following:

• Intake: Parents meet with staff to share information about their family.
• Videotaped Observation: Parents work on tasks with their children so they can gather information about family interactions.
• Feedback: Strengths and areas of possible concern are discussed with parents along with referrals to community services.

• TumbleBooks Has a New Look for the New Year – TumbleBooks has launched a new TumbleBookLibrary interface. Some of the new features include when you choose a book, you will now see a “You may also like” feature on the bottom of the page. They also now offer an audio quiz for each book. The TumbleSearch feature now has 8 fields to choose from (Title, Author, Reading Levels, Subject, Genre, Language, and TumbleTime). Plus, a brand new “Auto-Complete” code compensates for typos and spelling mistakes. And Coming in the next couple months is a collection of award winning novels from HarperCollins, that includes Beverly Cleary’s “Ramona Quimby, Age 8”, and “Ramona Forever,” Neil Gaiman’s “Fortunately, The Milk,” and “Coraline” (Graphic Novel), “Ella Enchanted”, “The Year of Billy Miller”, “Surviving the Applewhites”, and “One and Only Ivan.” For the older grades, TumbleBookCloud is still the same, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s updated soon as well.

• District Admin Update – Carmen Urbina, 4J’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Manager, has accepted a position at the University of Oregon as their Program Development and Recruitment Coordinator in the Educational Methodology, Policy and Leadership Department. Her last day of work will be this Friday. Carmen began working with 4J in July of 2005 as the Parent, Family and Community Coordinator. During this time she has served on countless committees striving to give students and families a voice within the district.

Also, Director of Technology, Steve Menachemson, will be leaving 4J this Friday as well. Steve has been tapped by the Fortune 500 company AECOM to serve as Director of Service Delivery for design and consulting services in the Americas. In a rare opportunity, Steve’s new position allows him to work globally but remotely, so he and his family will remain a part of the Eugene and 4J. Kim Ketterer will serve as Interim Director of Technology until a new director is appointed.

• MLK, Jr. March and Celebration Updates – In addition to the information I shared last week regarding the MLK Jr. March at PK Park on Monday, January 18th to the Shedd Institute, I have information for an event happening the next day at the UO’s Columbia Hall 150 (east 13th University) where White House Correspondent April Ryan will be speaking about H.O.P.E (Hoping for the Opportunity to Pursue Equity in America). See the linked flyer for details.

• Back-to-school transition tips for students living in poverty – The transition back to school after winter break can be difficult for students who live in poverty. Such students may have struggled with food insecurity and homelessness during the break, returning to school with unique needs that reach beyond academics. In this article from NPR, educators offer tips to help create a safe environment and smooth transition.

• Best Apps, Games and Sites of the Last Year – This Graphite post reveals the top mobile learning apps and resources of 2015, reviewed by educators. Not all of these are for elementary grade levels and not all of them are free, but some of them do sound good. My our daughter is now a big fan of one of the apps, WonderBox.

• Schedule of Events for the Week – See the Google Calendar for future events, but here are the events of note for the next two weeks:

January 11 (M)
2:30-5:00, Allan to Elementary Principals’ Meeting (Ed Center)
2:30-5:00, Allan to Pay Grade Evaluation Meeting (Ed Center)

January 12 (T)
8:30, December Book Winners (Office)
9:30-12:00, Superintendent Visit to Howard
1:00-5:00, Allan to BEST Coordinator Interviews (Ed Center)
2:30-3:30, IPBS Meeting (Room 1)

January 13 (W)
Wacky Wednesday- Career Day
9:10-9:40, K-2 PRIDE Assembly (Gym)
9:40-10:10, 3-5 PRIDE Assembly (Gym)
10:10-11:00, Allan to OAC Meeting (Construction Trailer)
1:30-2:30, PBIS Meeting (Room 21)
3:00-5:00, Allan to Implicit Bias & Disproportionate Discipline Work Session (Ed Center)

January 14 (H)
2:30-3:30, TLT Meeting (Room 7)
3:00-4:00, Allan to Elementary Principals’ Meeting w/SROs (Ed Center)

January 15 (F)
8:00-11:00, 1st Grade Speaker – The Adventures of Tartar Patrol
10:45-12:30, Birthday Lunches with the Principal (Library)

January 18 (M)
No School – Martin Luther King Jr. Day

January 19 (T)
Progress Monitoring Week 6
2:30-3:30, Staff Meeting (Library)
6:00-7:00, PTO Meeting (Library)

January 20 (W)
8:30, Fire Drill
9:00-10:00, Allan to Truancy Hearing (Office)
9:00-11:00, Allan to OAC Meeting (Construction Trailer)

January 21 (H)
8:00-1:00, Data Team Meetings (Staff Room)

January 22 (F)
8:00-4:00, Carla, AJ and Allan to LEL Meeting (Gilham)
6:00-8:00, PTO Family Movie Night (Gym)

January 23 (S)
9:00-12:00, School Choice Showcase (Ed Center)

Have a good week and an even better three-day weekend!